The Head of Medusa

1617/18, Artist: Peter Paul Rubens



The Head of Medusa

With great cunning Perseus killed Medusa, a monster whose hair consisted of snakes and whose gaze could literally petrify men and animals (Ovid, Metamorphoses). The blood dripping from her severed head also turned into serpents. At the time of Rubens, the painting was understood politically or allegorically as a symbol of the victory of Stoic reason over the enemies of virtue. The drastic depiction of Medusa with her bulging, blood-shot eyes open wide is by Rubens himself and his workshop; the animals are attributed to the specialist Frans Snyders.

Currently not displayed.

Object data

Object Name







Peter Paul Rubens (1577 Siegen - 1640 Antwerpen) - GND

Attributed to

Frans Snyders (Schlangen) (1579 - 1657 Antwerpen) - GND




Overall: 68,5 cm × 118 cm × 2 cm
Framed: 85,5 cm × 134,5 cm × 5 cm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

Inv. No.

Gemäldegalerie, 3834


1635-1648 Coll. Buckingham; 1685 documented in Prague; 1880 from Prague to Vienna;

100 Meisterwerke - Das Haupt der Medusa - Peter Paul Rubens

IGS - Haupt der Medusa - Peter Paul Rubens

OESG - Haupt der Medusa - Peter Paul Rubens

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